Creative Appetizer Ideas: Tapas

The article gives readers ten delcious tapas recipes and three very basic ideas for pleasing guests.

When having a party, it's always nice to have something for guests to snack on, and it doesn't have to be difficult. Below are several easy recipes for tapas, or appetizers, that are sure to wow your guests.

Bruschetta

What you'll need:

Vine ripened roma tomatoes, chopped

White onion, finely chopped

Fresh garlic, finely chopped

Fresh basil, finely chopped

Italian seasoning

Olive oil

Vinegar

Feta cheese (optional)

Crusty bread, sliced

The amount of ingredients will depend on how many guests you're entertaining, but figure one to two tomatoes per guest. Modify onion, garlic and seasoning to your taste. Start adding small amounts until you reach desired taste.

Simply mix tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, seasoning, olive oil and vinegar in large bowl and let marinate for about one hour. Sprinkle crumbled feta over mixture right before serving if desired. Serve with slices of bread.

Cheese Croissant

What you'll need:

One package of refrigerated croissant dough

12-16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (or desired cheese) preferably round shaped

Wrap dough around cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until croissant becomes golden and flaky. Slice into pieces and serve warm.

Neiman Marcus Dip

What you'll need:

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

10 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

5 shallots, sliced

Toasted almond slivers

Buttered Crackers, or any kind you prefer

Mix all ingredients and serve with crackers. You can make this recipe lowfat by substituting lowfat or fat free cheese and mayonnaise and turkey bacon. You can also make it vegetarian by replacing bacon with a bacon meat substitute.

Spinach Dip

What you'll need:

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of onion

2 frozen chopped spinach, 18 oz.

1 cup artichokes

8 oz. of cream cheese

8 oz. sour cream

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

8 oz. Monterey jack cheese

Salsa and sour cream, for dipping

Sauté onion in one stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add spinach and ingredients in order, stirring constantly. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

Tortilla Roll-ups

What you'll need:

1 package of flour or wheat tortillas

1 package of cream cheese

1 cup of sour cream

1 bunch of shallots, sliced thin

1/2 cup to 1 cup of salsa

Salsa, for dipping

Soften cream cheese in large bowl. Mix in sour cream, shallots and salsa. Use a spatula and spread mix onto open tortilla. Roll (like a tamale) and place in baking dish. Repeat process until all tortillas are used. Cover with damp paper towels to retain moisture and seal dish with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Before serving, slice into bite-sized pieces. Serve with salsa. You can make this lowfat by substituting lowfat or fat free cream cheese and sour cream.

Cheese Log

What you'll need:

8 oz cheddar cheese

8 0z cream cheese

8 oz pepperjack cheese

Shallots (about 4 or 5) chopped fine

Mix all ingredients together and roll into shape of log, then roll into chopped pecans. Serve with crackers.

Black Olive Bits

What you'll need:

1 small can chopped black olives

1 cup cheddar, finely grated

8 oz. cream cheese softened

1 cup green onions finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

Scant teaspoon curry powder

1 bag English muffins

Blend all ingredients well, spread onto English muffin half. Cut into wedges. Place on cookie sheet and cook in 350 degree oven until bubbly.

Artichoke Spread

What you'll need:

1 tall can artichoke hearts drained and cut up

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup parmesan cheese

Garlic powder

Paprika for top

Combine all ingredients and serve with crackers.

Spinach Bread

What you'll need:

2-10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach

8 oz cream cheese

6 oz tube jalapeno cheese

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 loaf French bread

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook spinach according to package directions, but do not add salt. Drain spinach and pat dry. Melt cream cheese and jalapeno cheese. Blend in spinach, along with seasoning. Split French bread lengthwise and lay open faced on a cookie sheet. Spread with spinach cheese mixture. Cover with shredded mozzarella and bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Fruit Dip

What you'll need:

1 block of cream cheese

1 container of marshmallow cream

1 cup powdered sugar

Food coloring, optional

Fruit of your choice for dipping (strawberries, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon)

Soften cream cheese. Mix well with marshmallow cream. Add powdered sugar. (may need more powdered sugar if desire more sweetness) Blend until smooth and add a few drops of food coloring if you want it colored.

Here are some very simple tapas ideas that are as easy as opening a package and serving.

Cream Cheese Spread

Cover one package of cream cheese with a savory sauce, such as Pick-a-Pepper or a raspberry chipotle and serve with crackers.

Hummus and Pita Bread

As simple as it sounds: serve prepared hummus with slices of pita.

Cheese and Veggie Tray

Serve your favorite cheese and vegetables. Mix one container of sour cream with ranch dressing mix for dipping.

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